Sandy is the Founder of Connectable.biz, software she designed for networking groups to share leads online. With 12 years of owning a storefront business, but no experience in software, Sandy followed the Foundation’s framework and built Connectable.biz in less than a year with six customers in three different countries.
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Worst Entrepreneur moment
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- Julie Arora
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John Lee Dumas: Who's ready to rock today? Fire Nation, John Lee Dumas here, and I am fired up to bring you our featured guest today, Sandy Connery. Sandy, are you prepared to ignite?
Sandy Connery: Absolutely, John, I'm ready.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. Sandy is the founder of Connectable.biz, a software she designed for networking groups to share leads online. With 12 years of owning a storefront business, but no experience in software, Sandy followed the Foundation's framework and built Connectable.biz in less than a year with six customers in three different countries. Sandy, give the Fire Nation just a little insight, so share more about you personally. Expound upon your biz.
Sandy Connery: Sure, thanks, John. I'm a little different than the typical foundation student, as I had run a business before entering. So my formal education is I'm a certified pedorthist. I do biomechanics skate analysis, and I ran a business for 12 years. It had two brick-and-mortar stores. And inside there, we had orthotic clinics. So I had staff, I had rent to pay, payroll to do. So it was a little bit different.
But I did just wake up one day. It was like a switch had flipped, and I just no longer loved what I did, and I needed to find something else. And I heard Dane Maxwell on Pat Flynn's "Smart Passive Income" podcast, and I decided to join the Foundation. And that's what I did, sold my shares, got out, and entered the Foundation, built a product within the framework and never looked back.
John Lee Dumas: So fascinating. Three of the five Foundation members that we've been featuring all week, Fire Nation, found Dane Maxwell and the Foundation on a podcast. Two are actually from Mixergy, and then now, we have Sandy from Smart Passive Income; so fascinating. You can see why Dane made such a big ask when he came to Entrepreneur on Fire because he knows the power of you, Fire Nation, the power of podcasting.
And, Sandy, you are, by the way, five of five. You are the grand finale of the Foundation week. So just take a second and just maybe a couple seconds. Share with us what your experience was with the Foundation. And we're gonna dive more into it later, but just a little brief overview.
Sandy Connery: The Foundation was, for me, it was life-changing. I had been very unhappy at my job. I loved my staff; I loved the customers. I didn't love what I did. And when I heard Dane speak about a business model where there was no rent, there was recurring revenue, there was no AR, it was so intriguing to me.
So I entered a little bit blindly. I just kind of, you know, it was just sort of circumstance the way that I sold my shares, and there was a few Foundation class starting, so I just went with it. I just kind of spontaneously went into it without completely knowing what I was doing.
But it was just a fantastic journey for me. There was tons of personal work done, tons of personal growth. And I ended up coming out with a new business that I love and I can't wait to get going every morning with.
John Lee Dumas: So it was one of those, for you, experiences of leaping and hoping that the net would appear.
Sandy Connery: Oh, yes.
John Lee Dumas: And, voila, there was the Foundation, not just appearing, but a pretty warm embrace, which is pretty awesome.
Sandy Connery: Yeah, I really − I didn't know what SaaS meant. I didn't really know what I was getting into. But once you're in the Foundation, there is such a strong community. I'm sure that others have mentioned that today, too. The support that you get from the people in the Foundation who work there, but also your peers who are going along this journey with you, is incredible.
And I just learned so much about myself, and I'm just really excited about life again, which is such a great place to be, which is where we should all be living, right? We should all be loving what we do every day.
John Lee Dumas: It is so, so true. I actually mentioned this in one of the previous five interviews of Foundation members. But I think the title again is, "The Top Ten Regrets of the Dying," and the No. 1 regret by far is, "I wish that I had had the courage to go after what I know would have made me happy, instead of what others told me I should do, and never let the outside influences affect this one life that I have to live, that I'm now leaving."
And it's really sad to read that when people really look back on their lives, and they feel like they wasted an amazing opportunity just to be in control and to steer their own ship.
And, Sandy, you've done it. You're happy. I've done it. So many of Fire Nation listeners right now have done it, and Foundation members have done it. So take heart, Fire Nation, and more importantly, take control.
But, Sandy, it's not all unicorns and rainbows. And if you've ever listened to Entrepreneur on Fire, you know what I'm talking about because we're going there, your worst entrepreneurial moment. So tell us that story, Sandy. Take us to that moment in time.
Sandy Connery: Sure. My worst entrepreneurial moment could also be said as my worst life moment probably. I spent two years in my old business not being very happy, and I was very, very sick during that time. All sorts of illnesses cropped up. And I knew that I needed to make a change. I needed to jump for that net, as you just said.
But I was too scared. I was living in that place of fear, and I thought I was so much more important in my own business than I actually was, which a lot of business owners −
John Lee Dumas: Oh, yeah.
Sandy Connery: − get into that place. And I just didn't listen to my body. As soon as I thought, "You know what, Sandy? You've got to make a change. You've got to do something," I would feel better, and the pneumonia would go away. And as I slipped back into fear and was, like, "I can't. They need me. I'm the center pin. I'm everything in this business. It all kind of happens around me. I make things happen," I'd get sick again.
It was like that, flip-flopping for two years until I finally made the decision that I have to make a change for me, and the day that I said to my partners, "I need to sell my shares to you," I have not been sick since.
So I really, truly believe that your body knows before your mind does. And so my mistake was not to listen to my body, and I will never make that mistake again. Follow the goose bumps. It's always right.
John Lee Dumas: Follow the goose bumps. I just − I love that phrase. I've actually never heard it before, but hearing it now, it makes so much sense when you say that.
And Fire Nation, how long have we gone without listening to our own bodies, ignoring the signs that are so ever-present? I mean, I can remember so clearly just the constant back pain and strain that I would feel every single day in corporate America because of all the stress and anxiety and just unhappiness of me being there.
And the day I walked out the door, it was like, what just happened? I didn't get a massage, but all of a sudden, I don't have this back pain or strain anymore. That was the day that I walked out the door for good. That is so critical to listen to ourselves. I love that takeaway, Sandy.
And if you could just kind of break it down and give one takeaway that's a little maybe an add-on or just different from that point, what do you really want Fire Nation to make sure they take away from the worst entrepreneurial and life moments?
Sandy Connery: I think it's just to get really quiet and listen to what path you should be on. And I think we know it's there, but we're so afraid of the shoulds and those social constructs around us that it sometimes just paralyzes us. So I think, if we just get really silent and ask the question of what we need to do, the answers are always there.
John Lee Dumas: As Cliff Ravenscraft would say, "Don't should on me. Do not should on me." And, Sandy, I love that so much. Just be quiet for a second, Fire Nation. I mean, we live in this world of noise. I mean, we're always having to be talking to somebody or be having the TV on, blaring in the background.
Sometimes, just take a walk, and I hate to say it, but leave the podcast behind every now and then because you just need to be alone in your thoughts. You need to be thinking and really evaluating and, if need be, taking big steps and leaps in your life like Sandy has.
Now, Sandy, I wanna do a shift, and I wanna talk about another moment in your life. Again, this is a story. We learn from stories. So take us to your aha moment, to your epiphany moment that you wanna share with us today, that story. And then walk us through the steps you took to turn that idea into success.
Sandy Connery: Sure. I actually really love talking about this. So my aha moment actually happened only within the last year. And I was read a book, Brené Brown's, Daring Greatly, one of my favorite books. And she was talking about being a perfectionist, and if you look around my house, I am in no way a perfectionist in space ways.
But I realized how much of a perfectionist I am in the way I portray myself to the world. I don't want anybody − I should say past tense − I did not want anybody to see me as a failure. I would do anything to make myself look perfect in front of everybody, my staff, my partners, my customers. I never wanted to make a mistake.
And so, in Brené Brown's words, I was a prisoner of pleasing, performing, and perfecting. And that was like the heavens opened; the angels were singing. I was, like, this is how I have been living. This is not how we should be living. And reading her work made me realize that I connected who I am, my self-worth, with my work. Whatever I'm putting out there in the world was equal to me. And that's not how it is.
So, now, I can say that whatever I do, whether it's this podcast or a blog or an email or I write a book, whatever, if someone were to judge that, as they always will − there's always the critics out there − if someone were to judge that, they do not touch my self-worth. It is not on the table.
So, in Brené Brown's words, she says when our self-worth isn't on the line, we are far more willing to be courageous and risk sharing our raw talents and gifts. And I realized I had been holding back because I didn't wanna make a mistake. I didn't wanna be wrong. I didn't want anyone to belittle me.
And we cannot, as entrepreneurs, move forward with our businesses or even with our lives if we are not prepared to take risks. And so that changed how I did everything because I was so caught up in these shoulds that, you know, "You have a biomechanical degree. You can't start a software company. You should be doing this. You should be working in the field of your formal education."
John Lee Dumas: You were shoulding on yourself.
Sandy Connery: All the time, all the time. So, when I read those words, it was literally the shift, this massive, massive identity shift that I can do this, and I have been holding myself back. What could I create if I didn't think there was going to be any judgment?
And if someone − I know there's gonna be critics out there, but it's not the critic who counts. It's me in the arena who's trying. That's a reference to Theodore Roosevelt's speech, "The Man in the Arena." It's not the critic who counts, right? It is me that counts.
And so I just love, you know, give me the criticism. I'll take it. I'll learn from it, and I'll reflect, and I'll move on. And maybe I'll do it better, maybe I'll do it different, or maybe I'll keep it the same. But you're not gonna touch my self-worth.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you don't have to be perfect. You don't have to appear perfect. In fact, I'm telling you right now, in this day and age, in the all-in entrepreneurship world, being honest, transparent, genuine, that is so much more welcomed than putting up this front. So just don't even spend that energy that Sandy was spending for so long. And definitely check that book out, Daring Greatly, so, so amazing.
And one thing I wanna talk about real quick, Sandy, because I think this is so powerful, and I'd love to get your thoughts on it, is just our innate sense of having to fit in, of not looking foolish, of being part of the tribe.
And I get it, and we should get it because, listen, when we were cavemen and women, we had to be part of the tribe. We had to be accepted because if we were shunned, like, forget it. We weren't gonna survive. We had to be part of this tribe together to survive.
So we have just this natural innate desire to fit in, to not be different, to not ruffle feathers, and to not look foolish, to not be that person, like, "Who's that? We don't want him part of our tribe. That's foolish." What do you think about that, Sandy? How does that play a role?
Sandy Connery: That's an interesting perspective. I think we still all have our tribes, and there's so many that you can join and belong, as you know.
But I never want anybody to stifle their creativity. I never want anybody to constrict the way that they're living because they're trying to fit in. If you don't fit in with that tribe, there'll be another tribe for you. And if you're an entrepreneur, you've gotta think creatively; you've gotta move creatively. And you just can't if you're worried about this tribe judging you.
John Lee Dumas: Have you gotten the chance to talk or to chat with Dan Bailey, one of the guys that is on this week?
Sandy Connery: Yeah.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. So I think this is a great example and a great fit right here because his tribe was not in Louisiana. They were telling him, "You need to be a lawyer. You can't do anything else but be a lawyer. What are you doing online? You can't do that." He had to pack up his truck and drive to Colorado and live in that truck for two weeks to get away from that negative tribe and now to find his own tribe, which are obviously bacon-loving people around the world.
Sandy Connery: Isn't that great?
John Lee Dumas: It's so great, oh, such a great story. So what I wanna do now, Sandy, is do a shift into what I call the one-minute mindset. This is gonna be five insights into your mind with these five questions. Take about a minute; you know, 60, 90 seconds to answer these questions. And the first one is: Ideally, what do the first 60 minutes of your day look like?
Sandy Connery: My first 60 minutes are all about getting my son out the door and off to school. Once I come back and my time is my own, ideally, I have some, you know, maybe 10, 15, 20 minutes of not opening up my computer and just getting really focused on today and what I need to do. So I may do the five-minute journal. I may do a meditation. I may do some just journaling.
But my point here is I don't do the same thing every day. When I first got my five-minute journal, I loved that thing. I used it religiously morning and night until it became a burden, until it became a chore, until it was no longer serving me. And I felt kind of bad that I was, "Oh, I'm failing at this," and I realized, "No, you know what? I'm just gonna move to something else that I need to do in the morning instead."
So I keep kind of switching it around for that sort of focus time to whatever it is that I need that day. And, sometimes, to be honest, that time may happen in the afternoon, too.
So I am not − I know a lot of entrepreneurs on your show have these very beautiful morning routines and meditation, and I just − I am not a morning person. So it happens − you know, my kind of time to reflect and get ready happens after I get my son off to school.
John Lee Dumas: What is your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Sandy Connery: I would have said in the past it's living with the shoulds, and I still kind of mess around with that a little bit, so it's a real warning word when I hear that go off in my head.
But I think, in the day, I struggle with focusing on one task at a time. So, actually, this last month, I would say that has been my focus is I need to really be aware of I need to do one thing to completion and then move on.
John Lee Dumas: Sandy, do you know my acronym for the word, "FOCUS"?
Sandy Connery: I have heard it. I cannot repeat it to you right at this moment, but I have heard it.
John Lee Dumas: I put you on the spot, girl. "Follow One Course Until Success, FOCUS."
Sandy Connery: Okay. That's now my new mantra.
John Lee Dumas: What is your biggest strength?
Sandy Connery: I think I have such a drive and determination to be the best. I also have a great ability to connect and talk to people. So, when I am building a new business, like I did in the Foundation, to get the people on the phone and actually talk to them was really fun and really, really easy for me, and I loved that part of building my business.
John Lee Dumas: What's a habit you wish you had?
Sandy Connery: So I told myself before this interview I was going to be very raw and very transparent with you and very honest, and I have to say that I wish I could work movement into my day more. Since I had those two years of being really sick, I haven't really got back on my workouts and running and so on. So that is what I need to incorporate into my days is more movement.
John Lee Dumas: Start small, Sandy. You know, actually, two of your Foundation members have recommended the Seven-Minute App Workouts.
Sandy Connery: I know, yes, I know David Smit who designed that, and I have it, and I haven't used it, and I'm embarrassed to admit that.
John Lee Dumas: Well, hey, hey, don't be embarrassed to admit it. That's trying to be too perfect, exterior-facing. You're being honest and raw, girl.
Sandy Connery: True, true.
John Lee Dumas: What's the wrong thing, Sandy, of all the things that have you fired up, most fired up?
Sandy Connery: I really love the freedom that I've created in my life to do what I want to do, work on what I want, where I want, when I want. But what I'm really, really looking for, too − so Connectable.biz, we're just in our beta phase, and we're just moving out of that. And we're moving into − I'm moving back into selling.
And I cannot wait to pick up the phone and start selling and connecting with the networking organizations all around the world again and just listening to them, finding out what they need, seeing if this is a fit for their group. So that's what I can't wait to get back doing.
John Lee Dumas: Sandy, don't you go anywhere because we have yet to enter the lightening round. But before we do, we're gonna thank our sponsors.
Sandy, welcome to the lightening rounds where you get to share incredible resources and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Sandy Connery: Absolutely.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Sandy Connery: I've run my own business for about 20 years in different forms. So I'm gonna change your question to: What's holding me back from becoming an insanely successful and happy entrepreneur? And I think it − we've mentioned before, it's the shoulds. It's the worry of how I will be seen by the world. So that is what's stopped me. I have moved through that a lot, and I'm a different person on this business.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you've ever received?
Sandy Connery: I just received this advice a few weeks ago, and it just keeps playing over and over in my head. So I'm coached by a wonderful woman named Julie Aurora, and she said to me − she was speaking to me, and she goes, "Love Sandy, embrace her, rock her, and then do whatever the "F" you want."
And I just love that, that she's just said to me, given me the freedom to do whatever I want. And she's not saying, "Go rob a bank." Take care of myself; do what I need to do moment by moment; love myself; and then have the freedom to go and do whatever it is you need to do and create.
John Lee Dumas: Share one of your personal habits that you do have that you believe, contributes to your success.
Sandy Connery: Okay. This one is gonna be a little bit out there, so just bear with me. I spend a fair bit of time napping. And it's a bit counterintuitive to have an entrepreneur who's building a startup say that. But it's part of my, be kind to myself. Give myself what I need.
And sometimes, instead of powering through something and forcing it when it's really difficult and hard, I just stop, and I just go have a nap, and I just reset. And more often than not, I come back with fantastic ideas. I'm energized, and I am so inspired to keep moving forward. So, sometimes, that break is all that I need.
John Lee Dumas: Do you have an internet resource, like Evernote, you can share with our listeners?
Sandy Connery: Yeah, my favorite thing to use right now is Slack. It's a communication platform. It's just so great for group work. So we use it in the Foundation for our Mastermind groups. And it's great for boards or companies or committee works. And it just keeps all of your communication separated by channels or by topic of discussion. It's clean. The UI is beautiful. And it's something that I look forward to checking in with every day.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, Kate is really digging that right now.
Sandy Connery: Yeah, you use it?
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, big time. Sandy, if you could recommend one book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Sandy Connery: I don't think it's gonna be a surprise. I'm gonna recommend Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. I know you get a lot of business reference or resource books, but this book just affected me personally and in business. It addresses, in her words again, living, loving, parenting, and leading. And we all need a little bit of that.
John Lee Dumas: You, Fire Nation, love audio, so I've teamed up with Audible, and if you haven't already, you can get an amazing audio book like this one for free at EOFirebook.com.
Sandy, this next question is the last of the lightening round, but it is a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand-new world, identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have, and your food and shelter is taken care of. But all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Sandy Connery: So I struggled with this a little bit, and then I just realized how silly that was, and I know exactly what I would do. I would take your $500.00, and I would, in my local market, I would go to as many meet-ups as I can, as many − my niche market for my business, Connectable, is in networking. So I would go to all the networking groups that I can attend, and I would talk to as many people as I can and as many different industries as I can.
Somewhere in those conversations, I will get the goose bumps, and I will go, "Oh, that is so intriguing," and I will follow that lead of conversation to that, whatever that niche market is. So I'm just strictly following the Foundation guidelines here. And I would just get on the phone, and I would talk to as many people in whatever that niche market was that gave me the goose bumps.
And I would find a pane, I'd sketch it out, I'd presell the heck out of it, make enough presales to fund it, and then I'd have a fantastic SaaS business. And, at that point, I've probably only spent $200.00 on coffee and long-distance charges. So I take the $300.00, and I would donate it to Kiva to support some female entrepreneur in the Philippines to build her own business.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah.
Sandy Connery: There you go.
John Lee Dumas: Yes, follow the goose bumps, Fire Nation. Sandy, let's end today on fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you. Then we'll say goodbye.
Sandy Connery: So the best way is probably just through email, email@example.com. You can also check out the website, as well. I'm giving away my − the research I did in networking organizations, I'm giving away my industry report. So if you wanna pop your email in there, you can receive that.
The other way is the Foundation, in its infinite wisdom, has created a special page for Fire Nation. So, if they wanna check out TheFoundation.com/Fire, there are a couple things we're giving away there. There is the one question your listeners need to find profitable software business ideas and how to use it. They're also giving away an idea extraction guide, which is six pages of tactics on how to find profitable ideas quickly.
And the thing I'm most excited about is they are also planning an ultimate ask-me-anything party with the five of us who have been so fortunate to be highlighted on your podcast. We are gonna have a live hangout with us, and we just wanna connect with your listeners and hear their stories and answer their questions and have a great time with your listeners.
John Lee Dumas: I mean, Fire Nation, if you've been listening for the last six days, because Dane was on six days ago, and then five phenomenal Foundation members, one by one by one, and you haven't yet gone to TheFoundation.com/Fire, come on, what's up? What's going on? Talk to me. Talk to me. If you could talk to me, what would you say? I'd love to hear it.
But do this, because you're gonna be able to go have this great ask-me-anything hangout with Sandy, with Mr. Bacon himself, Daniel Bailey, and everybody else that we've had on the last week. I mean, it's all free, the gifts, this hangout. Make it happen. Do Fire Nation proud. Do yourself proud. Make an effort to take that action, to get there, and to just be awesome because you are awesome, and this is just proving that on multiple levels.
And, of course, head over to EOFire.com. Just type Sandy in the search bar because her show notes page will pop right up with all these links. Well, again, her email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And you are Fire Nation, you, the average of the five people that you hang out with the most. You've been hanging out with Sandy and JLD today. So keep up that heat.
And, Sandy, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we'll catch you on the flip side.
Sandy Connery: Thank you, John. It's been great. It's been fun.
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